Cyber Risks Affecting Construction Contractors

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While the construction industry is known for its physical and financial challenges, it is increasingly facing another formidable threat: cybercrime. As technology becomes integral to project management, communication, and data storage, the construction industry becomes an attractive target for cybercriminals. What was once thought only to be an issue for large Fortune 500-style companies is now a serious threat to companies of all sizes and should be examined regularly to ensure risk exposure is as minimal as possible.

Many contractors don’t think their data is important or worth much money. Consider this: if all of your company data were gone tomorrow, how much would it be worth? Probably quite a bit. According to a study performed by NordLocker, the construction industry was hit by ransomware attacks more than any other between January 2022 and January 2023.

Cybersecurity Risks for Construction Contractors:
  1. Confidential and Sensitive Company Data: Construction projects involve a vast amount of sensitive information, including architectural plans, engineering designs, financial data, and employee records. Cybercriminals recognize the value of this data and target construction firms to gain unauthorized access or to use the information for fraudulent activities, industrial espionage, or ransomware attacks.
  2. Supply Chain Vulnerabilities: Construction projects often involve numerous subcontractors, suppliers, and partners. Each entity may have its own cybersecurity practices, potentially creating weak links within the supply chain. A cyber breach within any of these interconnected systems could have far-reaching consequences, impacting the entire project and compromising sensitive data, resulting in unforeseen impacts on project timelines and additional costs.
  3. Internet of Things (IoT) Devices: The increasing adoption of IoT devices, such as sensors, cameras, and building automation systems, presents opportunities and vulnerabilities. These devices can improve project efficiency and provide valuable data, but if not properly secured, cybercriminals can exploit them as entry points into the construction firm’s network.
  4. Weak Legacy Systems: The construction industry has a reputation for relying on outdated legacy systems, which may lack the necessary security features. These systems are often more susceptible to cyber threats due to unpatched vulnerabilities or inadequate security controls, making them prime targets for hackers seeking to exploit weaknesses leading to potential attacks such as ransomware.
  5. Limited Cybersecurity Awareness: The construction industry has traditionally prioritized physical security over digital security. As a result, there may be a lack of awareness and understanding of the evolving nature of cyber threats among contractors, subcontractors, and employees. This knowledge gap increases the likelihood of falling victim to social engineering attacks, such as phishing or spear-phishing.
  6. Compliance with Regulations: Many construction contractors are subject to data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or industry-specific requirements. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in legal penalties and reputational damage. Implementing strong cybersecurity measures ensures compliance with relevant regulations and standards.

As the construction industry becomes more digitized, it must confront the reality of cybersecurity risks. By recognizing and addressing these unique challenges, construction firms can better protect their valuable data, operational continuity, and reputation.

We’re Here to Help

JLK Rosenberger is here to help your business assess its cyber security status and offer unique, business-specific solutions to mitigate the risk of cyber security liabilities. By investing in cybersecurity measures, fostering a culture of awareness, and collaborating with trusted partners, your construction entity can build strong digital defenses that mitigate cyber threats. Regularly reviewing cybersecurity control effectiveness is critical to protecting your company’s essential data and digital assets. Whether this is the first cybersecurity review or is part of a broader assessment program, JLK Rosenberger can help. For additional information, call our construction team at 949-860-9902, or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.